It’s time to build a financial system that works for white, Black, and brown working families, not big Wall Street banks and billionaires. For decades, Wall Street’s creeping “financialization” of our economy has served as the vehicle for redistributing wealth upward from working people to the 1%. From the post office to higher education, it takes public goods and turns them into private ones. And it’s killing our democracy.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We envision a financial system that is fair to all, and that serves human needs rather than exploiting them. For our financial system to support and not undermine the economic well-being of white, Black, and Brown working people, it must be consistent with our democratic ideals. To build a financial system that passes that test, we must pursue these four principles: unrig the rules of white supremacy and patriarchy, provide fair banking for all, make Wall Street serve people, rather than people serving Wall Street, and incentivize long-term investing, not short-term bets.
1. Unrig the Rules
We envision a financial system, economy and democracy where Black, Indigenous and other people of color, women, LGBTQ, the differently-abled, and other marginalized peoples share equally in our nation’s wealth, and where we actively seek to reverse growing inequality and close the racial wealth divide.
To achieve this, we must promote actively anti-racist policies that address generations of wealth extraction from an economy built on slavery and the theft of indigenous land to Jim Crow, the “new Jim Crow” of the carceral state, the denial of economic personhood to women until very recently in our history, and all other manifestations of white supremacy and patriarchy. (Learn our history here.)
- Wall street sales tax: Ordinary people pay sales taxes on goods and services. We need to tax Wall Street when they buy and sell financial securities to encourage long-term investment and raise revenue. Read on >
- End the “carried interest” loophole: We need to eliminate the “carried interest” loophole, which allows financial executives to pay a lower tax rate than retail and construction workers. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of the preferential tax rate for so-called “capital gains” entirely and stop rewarding wealth over work. Read on >
- Wealth Tax: Taxing the excessive wealth of the super rich is an important step towards ending the racial wealth divide in the U.S. and investing in public goods like free college, green jobs, health care, and public transportation that benefit all of us, and help us move toward a more just economy. Read on >
- Save the Post Office: We need to replace Trump-appointee Louis DeJoy with a forward-looking postmaster general that restores and expands universal service. Now is the moment to build on USPS’s historic role in our communities to deliver much-needed services like postal banking. Read on >
- Curb Wall Street’s influence in Washington: We need to curb the big Wall Street banks’ influence in Washington through comprehensive democracy reforms to voting rights, campaign finance, and ethics rules and eliminating the filibuster to fix the broken system so our elected officials work for everyone. Read on >
- Other policy changes: unrig the whole tax code to tax the rich and corporations, reparations, close the racial wealth divide, eliminate fines and fees in the criminal justice system, reverse the privatization of public goods, address LGBTQ+ poverty and pass the Equality Act, cancel student debt, and restore workers’ right to organize through the PRO Act.
2. Fair (not Predatory) Banking for All
It’s time to introduce more equitable alternatives to the current financial system. Everyone should have access to low-cost, transparent and non-exploitative basic financial services, and financial workers should act in the best interests of customers. And because debt is what inequality looks like in peoples’ daily lives, it should be illegal to purposely profit from peoples’ inability to pay, in all forms of lending.
- A “public option” for banking: It’s time to stop relying on the big banks and predatory lenders, and expand access to fair consumer banking services through public options like postal banking and public banks. Read on >
- Other policy changes: pass a national interest rate cap of 36%
3. Wall Street Serves People, People Don’t Serve Wall Street
Wall Street elites have financialized our economy to make governing structures serve billionaires and corporations at the expense of the rest of us. Wall Street should serve the long-term health of the economy, workers, and families, not the short-term financial interests of elites.
- Stop private equity looting: Our work addresses the predatory elements of the private equity business model that harm workers, investors, and communities. Read on >
- Stop stock buybacks: It’s time to stop corporate executives from buying back the company’s stock to juice share prices and pass the cash to themselves and wealthy shareholders. It’s manipulating the market, plain and simple. Read on >
- Rein in executive pay: Even after their reckless behavior caused the financial crisis, CEOs are still paid mind-boggling sums. We need to end taxpayer subsidies for CEO bonuses, and force corporations to reveal the ratio between their CEO’s salary and their median employee’s. Read on >
- Other policy changes: overhaul corporate governance, require workers on corporate boards, stop allowing corporate boards to silence investor voices on environmental social and governance concerns, empower the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to serve as a firm check on corporate actors that prey on consumers, reform pensions, and make it harder for Wall Street to finance guns, fossil fuels, and private prisons, raid pensions, pursue mass layoffs, and commodifying and restricting access to healthcare.
4. Investing, not Betting
No longer should we be allowing corporations to gamble with our economy, and saddle the rest of us with their failures. We envision a system where corporations, and especially large financial institutions, are held accountable for the consequences of the risks they take, and are no longer able to manipulate the economic and political system to impose those costs of those risks on the general public. It’s time for our economy to incentivize long-term investment, not short-term betting.
- Break up the banks: Today Wall Street is dominated by giant “too big to fail” banks. We need to restore the firewall between risky investment banking and “boring” commercial banking. Read on >
- Other policy changes: hold financial executives personally responsible for their misconduct, require financial advisors to act in their clients’ best interests, halt deregulation & selective regulation of the financial system, and finally, stop incentivizing corporations to take risks on our dime by ending too big to fail.
Find out how you can Take Action!